The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has to decide on Friday in Kigali their possible support to one of five candidates for the presidency of FIFA, a choice that could prove decisive to the outcome of the election.
With 54 affiliated countries, CAF has the largest reservoir of votes for the election of February 26 in Zurich, giving a considerable weight in support of its Executive Committee in one of the contenders to succeed Joseph Blatter: Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (Bahrain), President of the Asian Confederation (AFC), the Swiss Gianni Infantino, UEFA No.2, South African Tokyo Sexwale, Jordan’s Prince Ali and the French Jerome Champagne, former deputy secretary general of FIFA.
Within this list of contenders, the balance heavily favors Sheikh Salman.
The signing of a partnership agreement between CAF and AFC, mid January has been tied to a good relationship that could inform CAF’s support.
The affair has been criticised by Prince Ali who saw it as “an attempt to violate election rules.”
In an interview with L’Equipe on Thursday, CAF President Issa Hayatou, played down the claims.
“We are free to support who we want,” said the Cameroonian. “The last time we were behind Blatter and UEFA had supported Ali. He said nothing at that time? Who is Prince Ali? If he wants backing that’s his problem. And we will vote for whoever we want. If we decide today to support Salman is it a crime? Who can stop us?”
CAF may have a tough time deciding whom to support, observers say.